3 Smart Financial Moves to Utilize in CollegeBy David Thompson, UniversityHerald Reporter
College is a great time to learn more about yourself, prepare for adulthood, dedicate yourself to studying a subject you're passionate about and get ready to launch a career. However, among these many opportunities, it's also important to think about money. College can be expensive, and it can be easy to fall into bad spending habits that follow you for years after graduation if you aren't careful. The smart financial moves below will help you avoid this.
Look for Scholarships
There are plenty of different ways to pay for college, including savings, federal loans, and private loans. However, the advantage of a scholarship is that you don't have to use your own money. It's a good idea to apply for as many of these as you can and are eligible for since while some may only be for small amounts, those amounts can add up. Some also have limited eligibility, so there might not be as much competition as there is for bigger and better-known ones. It's a good idea to use a free scholarship search and application platform to help you search out some of these lesser-known opportunities. With a tool like Going Merry scholarships, you can find and start applying for scholarships in less than half an hour.
Be Savvy About Credit Cards
As a student, you might suddenly find yourself deluged with credit card offers. This seems great, as you can buy whatever you want, and as long as you stay on top of the minimum payments, you don't have to worry about the bill much for now. After all, when you graduate, you'll be making a lot more money, and you can afford to just pay off whatever you've accumulated in college. If this sounds like something you've been telling yourself, stop right now.
This is the danger with credit cards. It's so easy to whip them out, but those interest rates add up fast. If you don't have any student loans, you don't want to take on debt for when you graduate. If you do have student loans, you certainly don't want to have to struggle with credit card payments on top of them. Not to mention there are essential things to know about your credit score and why it is so vital to financial health. If you do have a credit card, make it one with a low limit that you only use for true emergencies and pay off as soon as possible.
One of the reasons you may run into financial problems in college, including credit card problems, is because you don't have a budget. It may not sound like much fun, but it can actually relieve some stress because with a budget, you will always know how much you have to spend on various things, including entertainment, clothes, and other nonessentials.
Before you actually move and start school, you'll have to estimate your expenses, but your college may be able to give you an idea of what they will be. You can then start tracking your spending and making adjustments to your budget accordingly. Be sure to prioritize tuition, books, and housing. If you don't have enough to cover your costs, consider financial aid, looking for more scholarship money or working part-time.